Minneapolis new wave act Graveyard Club are always the ones I turn to when craving something with a little melancholy and loads of nostalgia. Adapting the cadence of classic 80's dream pop with sublime harmonies, cavernous reverb, & unfailing euphoria, Graveyard Club chat #RealTalk with The Beatforest about their new single Nightcrawler and forthcoming sophomore LP Cellar Door.
Composed of drummer Cory Jacobs, guitarist Michael Wojtalewicz, lead vocalist Matthew Schufman, and bassist Amanda Zimmerman (who has recently left the band to start her new project Judy Gloom), GYC are ready to unleash their second album Cellar Door onto the blogosphere this coming June. Together, the four-piece have both a full-length debut album and EP behind them, marking GYC as a band to watch for in 2016. Lead singer and synthist Matthew Schufman stopped by the forest to spread the word about how the band came together and what you can look forward to with the new LP.
The Beatforest Music Blog (TBF): Thank you so much for taking a beat out of your busy schedule to have some #RealTalk with us Matthew! Your group is championing a nostalgic spin on synthpop that I legit cannot stop jamming out too. What would you say is the biggest inspiration for this retro/throwback sound?
Matthew Schufman (MS): Thank you for having us! For me, the inspiration came from a lot of the bands I fell in love with as a teenager. Bands like The Cure, New Order, and Depeche Mode. I was also really into the Britpop bands of the 90's, like Blur and Ash, so Graveyard Club definitely started with an affinity for that sound. At some point, I picked up an old cheap Casio synthesizer from a thrift store and I loved it. So that sound was always rattling around in my head, and after years of playing guitar and writing songs on guitar, I just wanted to change and play something else. By no means am I good at the synthesizer haha, but I love the sound.
TBF: When did you guys start making music? Are there any highlights of your music career earlier on that really helped shape the group?
MS: Mike (guitar) and I met around 2011 and instantly connected over the bands we liked and started writing songs together. At the time, we were both renting apartments in a big, old mansion and we recorded our debut EP [Sleepwalk, listen below] in the basement and attic of this old house. Recording that EP was a highlight musically for me because you could feel something bigger taking shape. Also, we opened up for The Drums as they came through Minneapolis (and I absolutely love them) so that is a definite highlight!
TBF: As a four-piece, is there one artist that sticks out collectively as a major influence?
MS: I don't know if we would all agree, but the influence that I think is most apparent to other people is Joy Division/New Order. Both of those bands are huge musical role models of mine. I think having a little lower singing voice, sometimes people compare my voice to Joy Division lead vocalist Ian Curtis. We all have different sets of influences, but we currently like the same bands for the most part. The sound of Graveyard Club came pretty naturally.
TBF: GYC have an eclectic and diverse taste selection with nostalgia being a key element to every song; the new single Nightcrawler being a perfect example of this rich sound. Is there a reason it was released ahead of all the others?
MS: Nightcrawler is the first one we actually finished. We felt like this song had elements that represented a lot of other tracks on the record. It was kind of a meeting point between the other songs. Also, this has been a live favorite for a long time and we had wanted to properly release it.
TBF: Do you have a favourite tune on the record?
MS: My personal favorite is a song called Diamond City. It's maybe the most synthesizer-heavy song on the record and it's dark but also really dancey. It took a really long time to come together and was one of the last songs we recorded for the record so it still seems new to us.
TBF: With your sophomore LP Cellar Door dropping quite soon, is there anything in particular that we can expect which makes this record unique from your previous releases?
MS: Cellar Door is quite a bit more layered than our last LP. There are many parts and flourishes added that we can't necessarily reproduce live, but that was all done purposely. Also, there are a lot more electronic elements throughout this record - we layered synths, used drum samples, and some spoken word samples as well. There's a lot going on, but hopefully we've contained enough of the madness...
Big ups to Schufman for wandering the forest with us this past week! Grab your copy of Nightcrawler at Graveyard Club's Bandcamp page here and stay tuned to GYC's social channels below for updates on the exciting release of Cellar Door!
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